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It is a well known fact that one of the most dangerous monsters in the original Diablo is actually one that you encounter relatively early - a variant of the zombie monster known as Black Death.

These can be encountered on levels 3-5 and seem harmless enough, as they don't do a lot of damage and are just as slow as all the other types of zombies, but each time they hit you they take away 1 HP out of your maximum, permanently (I didn't realize this until a friend tipped me off, at which point I avoided these like, well, the black death).

Thinking about this now, I am wondering just how low you can get your HP by getting hit by these monsters. Specifically, I wonder what were to happen if you manage to reduce your maximum HP to 1 and then get hit by one of these (though I imagine this is tricky to pull off, seeing how at a certain point each hit by these would kill you off completely)?

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Similarly, avoid certain shrines which can reduce your maximum mana by 10%: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/47663/… –  Decency May 2 '12 at 15:51
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No: the lowest possible total HP is "1".

Black Death spriteBlack Death spriteBlack Death spriteBlack Death spriteBlack Death sprite

Black Death hit for more HP (6-22 HP/hit) than they deduct from your max HP (1 HP/hit).1 In most cases, their final blow kills you before their max HP modifier could. In single-player, all deaths "permanent" kills, as you're forced to load from your last save or start over.2 In multiplayer, you can restart naked at the nearest town (like in Diablo II's multiplayer).

If you get tricky, you can use Mana Shield—a spell that deducts damage from mana instead of health3—to reduce your max HP to "1". After this point, Mana Shielded Black Death hits only reduce mana, not health. Likewise, your next unshielded Black Death hit kills you but does not further reduce your max HP:

lowlife

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Hmm, yes, I see. My question is a little misleading. I'll edit it a little when I get back from work. Thanks for the great answer! –  Aubergine May 2 '12 at 12:06
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False, with Mana Shield you can be reduced below that. If I recall correctly you end up with 0 max health and die instantly upon restarting in town. –  Decency May 2 '12 at 15:22
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Also, deaths are not necessarily permanent. If you're playing on Battle.net or by yourself in "multiplayer" you can restart in town and recover your dropped items. –  Decency May 2 '12 at 15:25
    
@Decency Now that's thinking outside the box. Thanks for the info, I hope this gets incorporated into the current answer (or maybe I'll go ahead and do some editing). –  Aubergine May 2 '12 at 16:43
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I tested it, and while Mana Shield brings you closer to 1 HP, you won't ever hit zero. –  Sean May 3 '12 at 0:40
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